We Must Make Lasting Memories, Through Whatever Trials We Face

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by Jaime Christmas |

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Our Christmas tree is almost 24 years old, and it has traveled the world with us. I still remember the day I went shopping for it. We lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, at that time, and on a winter’s day under a dusting of snow, I set out to get my first Christmas tree. I was six months pregnant with my first child. To make the memory even more special, my little sister was visiting from Malaysia and experiencing her first snowfall.

From that day onward, every year, when I put up the tree, I’m brought right back to that particular moment. No matter the number of artificial needles the tree has lost through the years, I will never trade it for a newer and fuller one. As part of our Christmas tradition, we leave our tree up until Jan. 5, to mark the Twelfth Night and the eve of the Epiphany.

memories | FAP News Today | This 24-year-old Christmas tree is decorated for the holidays

Jaime and Aubrey’s 24-year-old Christmas tree is decorated for the holidays. (Photo by Jaime Christmas)

The novelist Kazuo Ishiguro said, “Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”

When I look back and recall all the times I have spent with my loved ones, words spoken out of love, or actions done in the spirit of love, are what have stuck with me. Sure, we have faced challenging and trying times, but the bucket of memories is mostly filled to the brim with valuable moments that have proven unforgettable.

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I’m Heading Into the New Year With an Attitude of Gratitude

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology found that memories that stay with us are made from repeated actions and experiences, rendering them more unforgettable. However, the researchers also found that long-lasting memories are also formed when we face rewarding encounters during hardships.

As a caregiver to a spouse who was diagnosed with hereditary ATTR amyloidosis in 2013, life has been wrought with ups and downs. My family and I have learned to adapt and accommodate this disease. My husband, Aubrey, has stayed strong through his pain and suffering.

People who are diagnosed with an incurable illness are put on a path to an unknown future. Aubrey keeps fighting to live life as best he can, and no doubt, there are days when he must find it really difficult to get out of bed, but he pushes on.

During these times, simple pleasures afforded us, such as going on short trips or hanging out with friends, create distinctive memories that are unforgettable. Perhaps there is no option to take things and people for granted, so the intentionality in any activities we do makes us remember. When we start valuing what we do, everything creates memories.

My genuine wish for all of us is that we allow thankfulness into our lives and stay focused. We must let every second count for something, and in any trials we face, we must never forget that there are precious memories to be made.

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Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.

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